No. 5 Baylor running into Big 12 opener vs. Texas Tech
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Even coach Art Briles finds it a bit mind-boggling that fifth-ranked Baylor is the nation’s top rushing team.
What comes as no real surprise is that the Bears (3-0), the two-time defending Big 12 champions who play their league opener Saturday against Texas Tech, are still the highest-scoring team with the best overall offense.
”It just falls in place of what we’ve had happen, so far. If we’re sitting after 12 games and we’re still top 10 rushing, which is kind of what we’d like to be in year in and year out, then that’s a pretty good deal,” Briles said of their 379.7 rushing yards per game. ”I think it does say a lot about our O-line. Those guys are experienced.
”If somebody is talking ugly about me, I feel threatened, I’m not gonna go grab a quarterback or receiver,” he said. ”I’m gonna go grab an O-lineman or D-lineman.”
Texas Tech (3-1, 0-1 Big 12) is third nationally and second in the Big 12 with 54 points a game. That is 10 below Baylor, the national leader the past two seasons in scoring and total offense.
The Bears’ 767 total yards a game this season are 130 more than second-best TCU, which last week won 55-52 at Texas Tech after a diving catch of a deflected pass in the back of the end zone in the final minute.
Red Raiders coach Kliff Kingsbury quickly dismissed the notion that there would be an emotional or physical challenge getting over that heartbreaker.
”We’re good where we’re at,” he said.
As far as comparing Baylor’s offense to TCU, Kingsbury noted how different they really are though both score a lot of points with a lot of yards.
”Baylor does what they do,” he said. ”Nobody in the country does what they do with the spacing, the way they space you out, run the ball very well, play up tempo and find ways to get those receivers to the ball in space.”
Some things to know when the Red Raiders and Bears play in the Dallas Cowboys’ NFL stadium for the sixth time in seven seasons:
MAYBE MAHOMES: Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes set a Big 12 freshman record when he threw for 598 yards and six touchdowns in a 48-46 loss to Baylor last November. His status for Saturday was uncertain after hurting his left knee against TCU, and wearing a brace to finish that game. Davis Webb would start if Mahomes is not ready.
DOUBLE CENTURY: Baylor and Texas Tech are two of the four Big 12 teams that have both a running back and receiver averaging more than 100 yards per game. The Bears lead in both categories with Shock Linwood at 121 yards rushing per game, and Corey Coleman with 153 yards receiving per game. Baylor also has another 100-yard rusher in Terence Williams (101.7 ypg). Tech’s DeAndre Washington is second in the Big 12 at 118.8 yards rushing per game, while Jakeem Grant’s 103.2 yards tops three Red Raiders among the league’s top 10 in that category.
SETH STARTING: This will be Baylor quarterback Seth Russell’s third game vs. the Red Raiders, his first starting. Russell had three runs for 29 yards at the end of a lopsided game in 2013, and was 8-of-17 passing for 82 yards and a TD last season as Baylor held on to win after Bryce Petty sustained a concussion. While winning all three games this season, Russell leads FBS in passing TDs (15), yards per completion (19.9) and points responsible for game (32).
THE 700 MARK: There has been only one other time since 1996 that an FBS team had 700 total yards in three consecutive games – that was Baylor in 2013. These Bears have had at least 723 yards in every game this season.
AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org